Archive for the “conferences” Category

National Standards to improve learning
* Kids “address is not necessarily a predictor [of their future]”
* Using the Gazette as a key mechanism for communication with the sector.
* emphasizing that we should be looking for the positive and constructive – Standards not going to go away. An opportunity for self review.
* The NZC is still at the Centre – why would we change good practices?
* Accountability for self review and achievement should be the focus. Not simply for comparative and punitive reasons.
* importance of childrens voice. Importance of the adults modeling the desirable learning behaviours they want to see in children.
* focus on quality assessment practice/s essential.
* Building teacher capacity an important focus.
* Different model of PD for 2011. 2010 workshops have not been overly successful, based on the feedback. Issues responded to for each round of information workshops.
*Things parents what to know:
– what can they do?
– can they do what they are supposed to?
– what can I do to help?

* don’t overcomplicate things!
* the best judge of student achievement is the teacher.

* better understanding of the learning leads to better quality teaching interactions.
* don’t over gather assessment information ….”how much evidence do you really need to know a kid is reading at green? Really?”
* how IS information used to IMPROVE practice?

predicting:
– greater sharing of information about learning
– greater use of ICT
– continuing evolving good practice models
“…. creating the new world as we walk in it”

School journals are going to come out soon with support materials referenced to the Standards.
“I know you guys are doing a great job in more and more difficult times” – nice to hear!

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second workshop ….

Murray Gadd – Getting writing going in the classroom

chief writer of ELP – senior one

The KEY instructional Stages:

1.  Setting precise and clear achievement expectations.
*referring to NZC, Reading and Writing Stds, Literacy Learning Progressions, ELP, school curriculum documentation.
* also literacy demands in other curriculum areas.
*and also the FRONT part of the NZC! …. not just looking at the AO section at the back.  Child centered learning and not coverage focused.  It is a shame he is implying curriculum planning from this end of the equation.  Disagree fundamentally with his emphasis on this.
*and using a range of assessments.
*” I learn far more from a kids draft book than from an asTTle test from 3 months ago” ….focus on informal assessments
2.  Share expectations with children
3.  Making explicit what the achievement looks like.
* annotated samples around the room.
* exemplars etc as sources of samples to annotate
4. Set and share specific learning goals that are specific to the group/s of children in the class.
*each session has its own goal
* children setting their own goals
*importance of children setting their own goals – powerful for children’s learning.  Self-regulated learners.
5.  teach to the goals set, often by engaging  and motivating the children through modeling.
*enables the children to identify success criteria
*modeling – collaborative writing, demonstrating with sharing of thinking, deconstructing good pieces of writing.
6.  children practice to the learning goals and SC.
*being prepared to converse withe the children as they write
*guided writing sessions for some children essential
*getting it down on paper is the really had bit for many children
7.  Giving written and oral feedback
* affirmation or personal response the teacher has
*what has been achieved in relation to criteria set
*possible next steps.
8.  Assess in relation to the learning goals
*teacher, self, peer – in relation to SC and individual learning goals.
*aiming to be a self-regulated writer.
9.  Setting new learning goals in relation to the appropriate needs of the child apparent in 1-8 above.

A great model for professional development/teaching as Inquiry/classroom practice …. 🙂

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Had an interesting time this morning at the seminar run by the Otago branch of the NZRA.  My notes are below and my thoughts in italix:

Sheena Cameron:-

Reading comprehension strategies – what are they and how do we teach them?

NZer – Ald – refer also her book/s.
* Good readers are active and use (according to research):
search for connections
ask questions
draw inferences
etc (refer book?)
children don’t necessarily understand the concept of ‘reading strategy’ – need to explicitly teach the concept as well as the actual strategies.

*children under seven are decoding and not necessarily utilising strategies as such.  Not a focus for teaching – she says. I think this is probably an issue based on ability rather than chronological age.  Not sure I agree on making it dependent on age rather than reading ability.

*  teaching in cooperative learning model makes it much more effective.  Gave eg of graphic organiser in pairs.

* Key Strategies:

1.  activating prior knowledge:
2.  self monitoring:
*starting point for knowing they don’t understand.  “They need to know when meaning has broken down”.
* word attack strategies
* importance of actually teaching dictionary skills.  We assume children have the skills.
3.  Predicting:
*engagement is fundamental to effective prediction!  YAAY
*All children need to be engaged in the prediction not just those who answer teachers questions.
*prior, during and after reading too.
*predicting sets the purpose, and also demands being an active reader.
*importance of teacher modeling the processes.
*www.scholasticnewsforkids.com – website for articles.
4.  Making Connections:
*helps relate text to prior knowledge.
*TS – text to self connection
*TT – text to text connections
*TW – text to world.
5.  Visualising:
*”the picture/movie in your head”
*useful for comp and self monitoring as if the movie stops then so has your understanding.
*finding quotes from book to support judgements shown in dioramas, maps et
6.  Summarizing:
*not a retell – miniature version of text with all main points.  Have to synthesize the text.
*”good readers notice key words”
*note taking
*txt does not equal text (txt shorthand from phones v’s text in language sense)
7.  Synthesising:
*changing info into another form and making it your own.
*Have to know and understand in order to complete it
8.  Questioning:
9.  Inferring:

*SSR – importance of getting alongside kids and talking about books.

* Importance of VOCABULARY.
*need to encounter a word 12 times to ‘learn’ it.
*http://www.weboword.com/ – found it yesterday (coincidentally) and is great
* power of knowing prefixes and suffixes

Final, and important important thoughts:
* if children are not fluent readers then their cognitive capacity is spent on decoding not focusing on comprehension.
* important to record and capture the learning!
*important to make connections between strategies AND in different curriculum areas.
*encouraging metacognition with and about strategies

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Modern schooling evolved as a way of ensuring the ‘factory fodder’ for the Industrial Revolution had a universal baseline set of skills and competencies.  Over time this evolved into ‘Standards’ exams that children had to pass in order to progress from one ‘standard’ to the next.

The dominant views of education  during these times were of an empty vessel to be filled, a candle to be lit, a blank slate to be drawn upon.  The metaphors for schools were similar and all children were stuffed into the same box irrespective of their needs, interests or dispositions.  You either had it, or not.  You succeeded or failed.  Schools filtered out the chaff from higher learning and academic paths in universities.  By secondary schooling you were academic or vocational

Then the pendulum swung.  Children were creative wee angels.  We had to find their learning ‘styles’ and alter classrooms and schools to meet them.  Paint the classroom pastel and play appropriate music.   Not having planned for all possible variants of ways children might need to learn was pedagogical heracy.  We had to test for needs and meet them for all children. The pressure was off, stress and challenge were not a good thing.  Stream of consciousness was king.  Children were creative sponges who would learn it all from a suitable environment and their peers alone.  The teacher would iminantly be replaced by technology.

Today the focus seems to be on:

Accountability and control. The assumption is that teachers are lazy (check out the holidays folks!) and need to be watched or they will sit and read the paper while our kids brains atrophy in the classroom.

* Testing will keep the whole shebang honest.  If it is not numerical it is not valid.  Checklists and hard data are the only ‘valid’ forms of assessment.

* Standards.  Because they are never as high as they were when we were at school.  Life is a competition and we have to be top dog.  It is all about winning.  Don’t even play the game if you can’t be the best.  Comparison with others – inside the classroom, between schools, between teachers, between countries – will make people accountable for their practice.  Fear is the most powerful motivator of all.

But hold on a minute.  What happens when you stop watching?  What happens when the leader changes?  What happens when the going is tough?

Aren’t these things the true test of our schools and education system?  For me the acid test is what happens when I am NOT watching, when I am NOT in the school.  When I am NOT in the staff meeting.  When the classroom door is closed and teachers are doing what Ruth Sutton (the English  educational consultant) describes as the second most private act adults engage in.

I think the only way you really influence stuff is changing what teachers and school leaders BELIEVE.  What will never be the same as a result of their ongoing learning.  What they will do differently from now on because of what has changed in their heads.

We recently had almost all of our teachers at ULearn.  It was fantastic.  The learning was huge.  The fun and laughter even greater.  After workshops we discussed, we argued, we challenged, we patted ourselves on the back and we gave thanks for how good we have it.  Things will never be the same.

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Possible Selves – what we might, could and are afraid of becoming.  What i the role of the school in discovering self/selves?

Quoting James Paul Gee – in particular his writings on literacy.  Encouraging people to read his writing.  Value of the gaming world for children to ‘play as [being?] experts’

Role of the teacher is to encourage and nurture possible selves for children.

“Education is not about children achieveing their potential – it is about them GROWING their potential”

concept of learning dispositions, relating them to Key Competencies.

Being ‘ready, willing and able’ to exhibit the dispositions/KC’s is important.

Learning pathways will be travelled by chidlren in their own ways. Incoming dispositions (etc) have an impact on them, as does what the teacher and other adults do:
A. Agency/Authoring – children should have the opportunity to manage and reporting/reflecting on their own learning. ‘Flow’ and its impact on learning. Learning stories as way of doing this and children working on their own.
B. Breadth.
C. Continuity. making the learning public and track it over time. a huge amount of time is needed to do a good job of learning stories!
D. Depth. deep learning and imbedded

I guess the key thing is not to get bogged in the trivial and to focus on important learning.  Some of the learning stories I have seen have focused so much on the detail of a relatively small moment just for the sake of getting something written in a learning log or assessment book.  That’s probably her point – do it WELL.

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importance of avoiding a ‘performaive culture’ in education.  Where all we focus on is performance …’catching the standards disease’

The ‘keystone species’ in education is the teacher.  Biological/ecological model and principals involved in the metaphors she is using.  Control the energy, resources, etc in the system => leadership in schools are performing this function.

sharing examples of online classes around world.  Virtual classrooms.   Schools have a person physically present who oversees things as well – may not have subject skills but can support learning.

doesn’t work as two traditional schools collaborating – needs a new model.  Needs an outside organisation to come in and mediate the changed pedagogy.  Research shows this to be the case.

default assumption is that adults have the necessary literacy skills to engage effectively in eLearning.  MAny careers now assume the abity to engage with elearning too.  Good idea to think about the fact that studies show 20% of adults have literacy/numeracy issues => have to think about this when designing homework etc.  Take opportunities to upskill families as well.

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NZ’s long history of being early adopters

simplifying the digital revolution is the opportunity to lead the world for NZ.

marrying together early adoption and innovation is key to progress.  Should be as easy to use as a telephone ….

moving from ‘information age’ to ‘innovation age’

everyone has a talent – the challenge and role of education is to find and get it to flourish.

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